A City Under Siege

Frank McLean's murder took place as Sydney was still in the grip of Mutilator mania from the previous murder just a few months earlier. And this one had happened within meters of a main thoroughfare. McLean, a war pensioner, had left a Surry Hills hotel earlier in the evening carrying a bottle of wine to walk to his room in Albion Street not far away.

He was seen turning into Little Bourke Street at about 10:35 p.m. by three trainee nurses of nearby St Margaret's Hospital. At 10:50 p.m. he was found lying dying in the gutter by a Mr. and Mrs. Cornish who believed that the crying of their baby in a pram may have warned the murderer of their approach and in turn may have saved theirs and their baby's lives.

chapter continues

The police were so organized in their hunt for the Mutilator at the time of Frank McLean's death that within minutes there were 30 detectives at the murder scene but again the Mutilator had fled without a trace.

The murders were unprecedented in Australian history. Police could not recall more violent or sickening crimes. One theory was that the murderer was a deranged surgeon. The removal of Frank McLean's genitals had been done with a scalpel by someone with years of surgical experience, the experts said. Doctors found themselves under investigation.

Book Cover: The Witch of Kings Cross, a book about Rosaleen Norton
Book Cover: The Witch of Kings Cross, a book about Rosaleen Norton

Police even listened to clairvoyants. The most notorious witch of the time, Rosaleen Norton, claimed to be in touch with the Mutilator when she had her daily chats with the Devil. Police investigated, just in case.

A special police task force was set up to track down the killer who was causing them so much embarrassment. Teams of detectives worked around the clock checking out every possible lead. And there were plenty of possible leads. Police phones ran hot. Houses were raided on the slightest suspicion that the Mutilator might be hiding there. Night shelters and hostels were checked and rechecked. Nothing. Still the Mutilator eluded police.

By now the police dossier on the Mutilator was inches thick and they were prepared to try anything, which included sending the details to Interpol in the hope that the killer may be identified by similar crimes overseas. This led to them investigating the whereabouts of an American soldier who had been charged with the murder of a 13-year-old boy in Germany in almost identical fashion to the Mutilator murders and the detaining in Melbourne of a 23-year-old German immigrant on the liner Patris who was questioned at Russell St. Police Headquarters in an unrelated incident.

Both Interpol leads proved fruitless. The reward for information leading to the arrest of the Mutilator was increased to £5000 ($10,000), a staggering amount of money for the early 1960s.

On April 14, a young airman, Patrick Royan, informed police that he had been attacked by the Mutilator in Goulburn Street not far from where Frank McLean was murdered. Royan said that his attacker scaled a high fence and lunged at him with a long-bladed knife but missed, nicking him only slightly.

He said that the mysterious assailant was hissing as he attacked. He was described as being tall and solid, of foreign appearance, between 30 and 40 years old and wearing a light colored suit.

Unfortunately nothing came of this as it was discovered that Royan was an alcoholic undergoing psychiatric treatment and had cut himself and made the story up to get  a bit of attention. An unsympathetic judge gave him 18 months in prison.

1. Australia's Most Feared Serial Killer

2. The Making of a Monster

3. Introduction to Murder

4. The Mutilator Emerges

5. A Jealous Lover?

6. The Mutilator Strikes Again

7. Vanishes Without a Clue

8. The Mutilator Must Kill Again

9. A City Under Siege

10. The Beginning of the End

11. In Hiding

12. The Mutilator Dead and Buried

13. Doubts Remain

14. The Case of the Walking Corpse

15. Trial

16. ... and Retribution

17. An Interview with the Mutilator, Part I

18. An Interview with the Mutilator, Part II

19. I Meet the Mutilator

20. Alone with the Mutilator

21. Confessions

22. Remorse

23. Making a Wish Come True

24. Bibliography

25. The Author

- Paul Kidd Book Titles

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